During the pandemic, Murakami watched the way his children interacted with Animal Crossing: New Horizons and how the reality of the virtual world was changing. “They were watching some fireworks display within the game while talking with their school friends, who they could no longer meet in person, through Zoom, admiring how beautiful it was,“ he explained.
“I saw the reality of the shifting values when I realized that these children could discern beauty within a virtual world. From then on, I started to change my ways of creative expressions and approaches entirely.”
In order to explore the possibilities of virtual reality, Murakami enlisted the former director of Sonic Unleashed and the Hedgehog Engine. Taking to Instagram today, the artist revealed, “An opportunity brought me together with Yoshihisa Hashimoto.”
Previously, Hashimoto directed a team mainly of programmers for the renewed MMO RPG Final Fantasy 14: New Eorzea, and in June 2012, he led the production of "Agni's Philosophy—Final Fantasy REALTIME TECH DEMO” at E3. He was then the CTO of Square Enix and is now the representative of ZIKU Technologies, Inc., a company that creates XR, AI, and avatars.
Now, the two are reportedly working on several projects together, including a series of NFT works that feature Murakami’s signature flowers in 24 x 24 pixel “evoking nostalgia for Famicom (The Nintendo Entertainment System)." The works arrive in 108 variations, “the number that signifies earthly desires in Buddhism.”
Check out all 108 variations here.